|Parts of a Card|
|202. Mana Cost and Color|
|204. Color Indicator|
|205. Type Line|
|206. Expansion Symbol|
|207. Text Box|
|210. Hand Modifier|
|211. Life Modifier|
|212. Information Below the Text Box|
|Spells, Abilities, and Effects|
Expansion symbols were black-and-white through the Stronghold expansion. Since the Exodus expansion, expansion symbols have incorporated colors to identify the rarity of each card: common cards have black symbols, uncommon cards have silver or black-to-white fade symbols, and rare cards have gold symbols. A fourth expansion symbol color, purple, was introduced in Time Spiral to represent the 121 bonus Timeshifted cards in the set. Mythic Rare was added with Shards of Alara, its symbol is red-orange.
The Chronicles expansion consists entirely of white-bordered reprints. It is unusual because it does not have its own expansion symbol and instead uses the expansion symbols of the cards' home expansions.
A designer must infuse recognizable fantasy flavor into an expansion symbol while also fulfilling these tough requirements:
- Hold up at about 4 millimeters high and 8 millimeters wide.
- Can't look too much like any other expansion or game symbol.
- Has to work in solid black, as well as in silver, gold, and orange-red.
- Has to be a scalable, vector-based design (because sometimes it will also be seen really big).
Expansion symbols matter
- Apocalypse Chime hoses cards from Homelands.
- City in a Bottle hoses cards from Arabian Nights
- Golgothian Sylex hoses cards from Antiquities
There are three cards from Unhinged that mention expansion symbols:
- Greater Morphling, for this card's expansion symbol becomes the symbol of your choice until end of turn.
- Symbol Status puts a 1/1 colorless Expansion-Symbol creature token into play for each different expansion symbol among permanents you control.
- World-Bottling Kit lets you choose a Magic set for . Remove from the game all permanents with that set's expansion symbol except for basic lands.
- Brady Dommermuth. (October 31, 2006.) "Have you ever listed anywhere what all the different expansion symbols represent/mean?", Daily MTG, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.